With many restrictions in place it can be challenging to know what you can do and can not do. One vital and important procedure that is still available to get receive during the pandemic ladies is a smear test.
Many woman myself included know just how important it is to go for a smear test which is a available for all woman aged 25 and over and occurs every three years unless being advised by medical personnel. A smear test or cervical screening as some may refer to screens for any abnormalities or any cell changes within the cervix. According to nhs.co.uk it is not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer. The sample of which is taken from your cervix will be tested for other certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) as if any changes are made to the cells this is deemed as “high risk” according to nhs.co.uk.
Across the nation it is surgery discretion as to whether or not they are carrying out these procedures at this present moment in time. As I called my surgery this week and asked to see what the situation was surrounding arranging an appointment Vicky the receptionist at the surgery advised
“Anyone can book in and be seen for a cervical screening. We have been carrying out these procedures all the way throughout this year. I know some surgeries across the UK are only seeing patients with a past history or if they have had normalities in the past but we feel it is just as important to allow the test to be available to all woman” Vicky stated.
With more then 2,500 new confirmed cases of cervical cancer each year within England according to England.nhs.uk it is vital that you arrange an appointment with your local surgery as soon as you are able to. With the stigma for some woman mainly the younger generation missing their screening test due to ‘embarrassment’ of the situation or even their own confidence within themselves.
There are ways to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed when arranging an appointment and when you do go for a smear test that you can control. The first point is to book with a female doctor or nurse; this may make you feel slightly more at ease as they are female and the same as you. The second is to understand that the professional medical personnel carrying out the procedure is not there to judge they are in the profession and are confidential.
In various parts of the UK Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were officially paused in March due the start of the pandemic and stricter lockdown rules where put in place. England did not officially pause Cervical Screening Appointments but within certain areas within the UK delays and postponements were being carried out.
It is vital and important that you make your appointment and if it has not already been done for you as soon as you possibly can. If your surgery is taking bookings then please book and if the option becomes available that the appointment can be made sooner then I am sure your surgery will be in contact with you, especially if you’re screening has been delayed due to covid restrictions.
If you have any concerns, questions or if you would just like to speak to a person regarding your personal information you can call Jo’s Trust free helpline on 0808 802 8000 or visit the website for further details. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is NHS approved and is contactable via phone, website or by joining Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Forum.